A guide to the best family friendly festivals around this summer

In issue 78 Janaya Pickett looked at the evolution of the family friendly festival and what various events around the country offer the multi-age group festival gang. With outdoorsy adventure festivals, artsy events and educational and creative extravaganzas, there’s lots for the family to consider when planning their summer festival itinerary. To give you a helping hand here’s some of our highlights.


Baldersby Park – 21/07-23/07

Inviting you to The Wilderwild, DEER SHED festival offers up a feast of delights for the brave hearted Hansels and Gretels of this world who aren’t afraid to venture into the wilderness. A place to explore, build dens and learn about the diverse flora of Baldersby Park, the family-friendly North Yorkshire fixture returns for its eighth year. If it all sounds a bit too far out, there are plenty of home comforts in the form of acts from Merseyside on the bill; headliners THE DIVINE COMEDY rub shoulders with newbies HOOTON TENNIS CLUB, SHE DREW THE GUN and JALEN N’GONDA.



Jodrell Bank – 07/07-09/07

Returning to Jodrell Bank, the Cheshire observatory at the cutting edge of humanity’s quest for knowledge, BLUEDOT will fuse its mix of music, art and science with out-of-this-world headliners ORBITAL, PIXIES and ALT-J. True to the intergalactic nature of its location, festival goers will be able to take part in myriad live experiments and scientific discussions on topics ranging from saving bees to humans in space and the galaxy’s magnet field. All in between catching musical offerings from JOSEFIN ÖHRN + THE LIBERATION, DREAM WIFE, TEN FÉ, WARPAINT, GOLDFRAPP, EZRA FURMAN, JANE WEAVER and heaps more. Phew!




Hawarden, Flintshire – 15/09-17/09

Founded by Cerys Matthews, and bringing an extraordinarily huge bill of activity for young and older visitors to the Welsh Valleys, The Good Life Experience has just about all bases covered. The music line-up boasts MICHAEL HEAD, FLAMINGODS, THE ORIELLES and AMBER ARCADES, to name a few plus the likes of FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE and MICHAEL ROSEN from the literary world. There’s also fun activities with campfire cooking, an assortment of outdoor pursuits and arts and crafts.



Rode Hall, Cheshire – 18/08-20/08

Taking place in the leafy surrounds of Rode Hall in Cheshire, Just So is a festival which celebrates all the best aspects of childhood. The event encompasses activity from the worlds of literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and other forms of creativity. Central to Just So is the Tribal Tournament, bringing unique exploration of festivals fantastical world taking in midnight feasts, curious creatures, hidden retreats and all sorts of magic and mayhem. If it’s escapism you’re after it turns out you don’t have to go any further than Cheshire to enter a new realm.



Lulworth Castle, Dorset – 27/08-30/08

The much-decorated sister festival to Bestival from the family-festival innovators Rob Da Bank and wife Josie gives itself the label Fest-Holiday and it’s easy to see why. The event is set on the picturesque Jurassic Coast and hosts a broad spectrum of music, culture and entertainment. This years line-up features the incomparable BRIAN WILSON doing Pet Sounds, MARK RONSON and LEFTFIELD amongst others. There’s also lots going on from the worlds of theatre and comedy. Slow Motion is an area of the festival dedicated to re-energising and re-balancing, something that most parents will appreciate!



Portmeirion – 07/09-10/09

Sitting pretty in the picturesque environs of Portmeirion, FESTIVAL NO. 6 celebrates its 6th birthday this year with, among other delights, a one-off collaboration between the globally renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the world famous Bootleg Beatles, who’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Joined by headliners THE FLAMING LIPS, BLOC PARTY and MOGWAI, you can also get your poetry fill with KATE TEMPEST and comedy courtesy of DIANE MORGAN (aka Philomena Cunk). Elsewhere drum n bass legend GOLDIE and nu-disco pioneers HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR head up No. 6’s illustrious electronic bill.



Brecon Beacons – 17/08-20/08

Known for their excellent music programme and ethical edge,GREEN MAN FESTIVAL don’t disappoint this year with the inimitable PJ HARVEY headlining alongside FUTURE ISLANDS, THE SHINS and RYAN ADAMS. Tucked away in the Black Mountains of Brecon Beacons, it’s an inspiring setting to take in the festival’s enviable programme of arts, comedy, literature and cinema – CHARLOTTE CHURCH and IRVINE WELSH will be in conversation, while JOSIE LONG is around the provide the laughs. The likes of ANGEL OLSEN and ST ETIENNE and Bido favourites THE ORIELLES add even more quality music to the mix.


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